March 2012

Be Careful With Your Stuff-Learning The Hard Way

It’s inevitable that children will break things. Our oldest son was quite careful with his stuff early on and didn’t break very many things. Usually when something of his did break, we would fix it for him. My wonderful husband is a great handy man and can fix almost anything. Then, along came our second son and suddenly lots of things started getting broken. Initially we would fix everything just like we had when we only had one child. We were obviously busier now that we had two children and since things were getting broken at a much more frequent rate, we started getting a pile of toys and things that were waiting to be fixed. For the most part, the children didn’t even seem to miss them. I am not a fan of having toys or work piled up waiting for me. It stresses me and I try to avoid it. So, I decided it was time for a change in our fix it plan.

We changed our fix-ability criteria from “Are we capable of fixing it and is it economical to fix it?” to now adding on “Is it also an absolute favorite toy of the child’s or is it something that we really want their younger sibling to have someday?” With our new fix-ability criteria, we started NOT fixing most of their toys and things. If the toy was unsafe or unusable, they had to throw it away. Otherwise, they could choose to use the item in it’s broken state.

As a result, their pile of toys started diminishing to a more manageable number with no effort on my part. My children seemed more satisfied with less than perfect things (which is something I feel is important for them to learn). I also noticed that the frequency of things getting broken, had decreased! They had learned how to be more careful with their stuff. We had taught them a very important lesson-that not everything can be fixed.

What ways have you used to teach your children to be careful with their stuff?


Make Your Own: Lacing Cards

I was straightening up my shelf today and found my preschool lacing cards behind some other stuff on the shelf. It got me to thinking about how I made them. I’m not the most craftsy person. Making my own lacing cards is about as craftsy as I get, so I thought I’d share how I did it, in case creating your own craft ideas is as hard for you as it is for me.

Homemade lacing cardsI simple used flat brown cardboard (non-corrugated stuff that I had around the house). I cut out the shapes that I wanted. The first time I did it, I kept it really simple and cut out a big rectangle and a cross. Then I used a paper hole-punch to punch holes, about every inch, around the edges of the cardboard shapes. I considered using yarn, with tape around the ends, for the laces. I decided to use spare shoe strings that I had around the house instead of the yarn, because I felt that the shoe strings would hold up better.

I made these about two years ago, and the shoestrings are still in great shape, but the cards are a bit bent up. I think it’s about time that I make some new ones. This time, I don’t have anymore of the nice brown cardboard around the house, so I plan to use cereal boxes to cut the cards out of instead. Since the cereal boxes have printing on one side, I plan to glue two boxes together (printed sides in) before I cut them into shapes. Then, to make them prettier, I plan to let my older boys decorate the cut out shapes. I think my younger children will love the cards that will be decorated by their big brothers and big brothers will love to decorate them for their younger siblings.

What are your favorite lacing card designs? Those of you that have made your own lacing cards before, how have you done it?